Ms. Lawson is a special education teacher at Truman Elementary School in Springfield, MO. Truman Elementary is a part of the Springfield Public School District, which is Missouri’s largest school district. Over 25,000 students attend 36 elementary schools, an intermediate school (grades 5 – 6), nine middle schools, five high schools, Phelps Center for Gifted Education, and 2 early childhood centers! Out of all the teachers at those schools, Ms. Lawson has been awarded Springfield’s Teacher of The Year 2018-19!
We are honored to celebrate with Ms. Lawson and feature her as a Rethink Ed Spotlight Educator. Ms. Lawson has successfully implemented Rethink Ed into her daily classroom activities. For example, she uses Rethink resources and data tracking to help her students meet their goals. These resources help create obtainable targets because she can break down a student’s goal into smaller, more achievable tasks.
“Skills we learn are practiced through authentic experiences. I believe in providing authentic experiences to bring learning into the real world. Math and social skills are used in cooking and selling snacks to teachers on our Rolling Café.”
Ms. Lawson also loves using the Rethink motivation boards from the resources section. In the photo below, you can see some of her students making pizza. When a student meets a goal or completes an assignment, they receive another pizza topping until they have made a finished pie! Ms. Lawson has seen great progress and success using these motivation boards. She found that many students,
“who have been reluctant to do nonpreferred work, willingly work. The positive association with the table work has crossed over to other times where they will willingly work and not use the motivation boards. That’s success!”
With the ability to record, track, and analyze student data, Rethink helps Ms. Lawson promote the success of her students. We are honored to partner with Ms. Lawson and Springfield Public School District and we look forward to continuing to inspire hope and power potential.
Position: Special Education Preschool Teacher District: Shelby County Schools in Memphis, TN
Joanna Cunningham is a Special Education Preschool Teacher at Shelby County Schools in Memphis, TN. Shelby County Schools serves approximately 26,000 special education students and has an instruction force of more than 1,000 professionals. Rethink Ed’s platform, especially its data collection and professional development, the ABA training series, supports Ms. Cunningham every day in her classroom.
Rethink Ed is a valuable tool for creating IEP goals, collecting student data, lessons, and professional development. The platform assists Ms. Cunningham in developing student plans and goals. It helps her to “think through exactly what I want my students to be able to do at the end of the IEP and to ensure I’m collecting the data in the correct way. The lessons help ensure I’m delivering consistent instruction to meet these goals.” Confidently, Ms. Cunningham knows that her students are on the right path and working towards their goals.
Data collection is tricky. Often, we think we know exactly what we are collecting data on and why, only to discover that it was the wrong approach. But with Rethink Ed, Ms. Cunningham found that it “helped me look more closely at the way I’m collecting data, what I’m measuring, and to be more granular about it. By doing this, my students are benefiting from better instruction and quicker course correction (if needed).” She can work closely with her students and team to visually see where they need to focus.
Ms. Cunningham has noticed a marked difference and improvement in her students as well as with her team of teachers. The ABA series basic training has, “reconfirmed the education I have had in working with challenging behaviors and is helping me train my team to ensure we are carrying out behavioral interventions with fidelity.” They do this by independently going through the online modules and then discussing how they can better serve their students.
This is just the beginning of Ms. Cunningham’s and her team’s Rethink Ed Success. She is excited to continue to utilize Rethink Ed in her classroom and continue to track student data. She knows that this platform will assist with IEP teams going forward and is excited to “look back and see where the student has been and how far they have come.” Ms. Cunningham is ready to jump into spring with Rethink Ed at her side!
Congratulations, on being featured as our Spotlight Educator. We look forward to continuing to hear about your success with Rethink Ed.
Position: Special Education Teacher School District: Amarillo ISD (Texas)
Annika Morris is a Special Education Teacher at Amarillo ISD. Amarillo ISD is a large district in Amarillo, Texas and has over 33,000 students and 2,200 teachers! Mrs. Morris works with students with disabilities and their parents to ensure needs are met in the classroom and the students are
prepared for life beyond school. She has been using Rethink Ed in her classroom for two years.
Rethink Ed has helped Mrs. Morris, her paraprofessionals, and students grow and succeed in the classroom. By utilizing lessons from the lesson library and quick-start data library, Mrs. Morris can create individualized lesson plans and goals. The data sheets and printed lesson plans (in one easy location) help her and the
paraprofessionals in her classroom to work together. Entering data and detailed notes in the Rethink Ed app allows for increased collaboration.
Together, Mrs. Morris and her paraprofessionals review the data and determine if the student is generalizing the skills with another teacher in another setting and can visualize how quickly the student can respond. Because the data sheets are easy to read and use, both the teachers and paraprofessionals can efficiently document when working with students.
One of her favorite outcomes of using Rethink Ed is that it has resulted in
less questions from the paraprofessionals about what they should work on and how they should document what they do. The paraprofessionals feel more successful and in turn are students are more successful!
Mrs. Morris is excited and ready to meet her 2018 Classroom goals using Rethink Ed!
Ola Minxhozi is a therapist and team leader at the Regional Center for Autism in Tirana, Albania. Over the course of two years, she and her team have integrated Rethink Ed into their teaching practices and its use has helped them in a variety of ways.
Rethink Ed has helped them address problem behaviors, streamline the data collection process, and easily track progress. She described the training process as gradually introducing different features of the platform while setting aside time for individual exploration of Rethink Ed. “It was helpful for each one of us to use Rethink Ed’s materials and watch videos on how to use the program,” Ms. Minxhozi said. She also pinpointed the model student on the platform as a very helpful tool as it allowed staff to do trial runs with various aspects of Rethink Ed without altering any real data.
To Ms. Minxhozi, one of the most valuable aspects of Rethink Ed is its recognition that each student learns differently and has strengths and weaknesses specific to them; therefore, the program allows the instructor to assess the student’s abilities first and then recommends lessons that are appropriate for the student’s skill level. For additional support, “the learning plan gives other suggestions, helpful hints, and error correction only to better help the student in the process of learning.” Rethink Ed also allows the staff to save time when preparing for lessons by providing relevant materials and instructional videos with each lesson.
Ms. Minxhozi also highlighted the behavior support the platform offers as a feature from which she and her team have greatly benefitted. She recalled a particular student who would consistently run away from work area; guided by Rethink Ed’s steps for intervention, she was able to identify the functions of the behavior, which were to escape and to get the teacher’s attention. She chose from suggested behavior replacements that would work best for the student and reported that four weeks later, the problem behavior had significantly reduced.
“Working with children with special needs or children in autism spectrum disorder is as beautiful as it is challenging,” said Ms. Minxhozi. She cites “finding the best ways to help students to develop their abilities and potential” as the most challenging part of their jobs and by making a wide range of comprehensive resources easily accessible, Rethink Ed has helped make that process easier. At the Regional Center for Autism in Tirana, they are excited to continue incorporating Rethink Ed into their daily teaching practices and benefiting from all the helpful tools the platform offers.
District: Prince George’s County Public School District (Clinton, MD)
Debra Pearce is the principal of Tanglewood Regional School in Prince George’s County Public School District (Clinton, MD). As a school Principal (and former district-level administrator), she is tasked daily with professional development, use of best practices and monitoring, and evaluation of student progress and staff competency. The Rethink Ed program enables her to complete these tasks through a single portal. She is the first principal to complete Rethink Ed’s Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) Advanced Training Course!
Rethink Ed supports her administrative professional needs as well as her teachers’ needs. She has learned the program alongside her staff, which has benefited her because she is able to “talk the language” of the program. She says, “Being able to answer questions about the program and to coach staff in the use of the program and tools supports our culture of learning throughout the school. The use of technology as a tool is also domain for our administrative evaluation.” Having completed the training, she is able to discuss Rethink Ed with her staff and understand the intricacies of the program. She has also found that her use of the platform encourages and facilitates the use of Rethink Ed in the building.
For special educators, Rethink Ed is a ready resource for classroom programming, data collection, professional development, and parent training. Ms. Pearce asserts that having these features in one platform helps her staff “work smarter, not harder” and “allows them to feel confident in their instruction.” Rethink Ed’s platform supports her administration through data collection, lesson planning, and professional development.
The two most valuable aspects of the Rethink Ed program for Ms. Pearce and her administration are the data collection components and professional development. Data collection is becoming increasingly important for all educators, especially those in special education. It is important that people can track, record, and show visual representations of data in the classroom. Teachers use Rethink Ed to track IEP goals, collect data, and develop IEPs that are tailored to fit the needs of the student. Ms. Pearce says, “Special education teachers are under an incredible amount of scrutiny when it comes to data review. Having a tool like Rethink Ed allows teachers and support staff to collect and share data that is professionally formatted and is defensible.” Teachers have benefited from Rethink Ed’s data tracking as well as the platform’s professional development training.
Rethink Ed’s online, on-demand professional training allows access to ABA training in schools that do not have district employed BCBAs. The training modules are aligned with the BACB outcomes and the Rethink Ed certificates are an important piece of documentation that supports teacher and administrator portfolios. Ms. Pearce says that as a principal, it is great to know that “Staff can access Rethink from anywhere at any time for initial and for refresher training.” She also states that Rethink Ed’s training courses are beneficial to students as well as teachers because “our students benefit from ABA practices while we are building our school system capacity to have access to BCBA staff.” Teachers and students are both reaping the benefits of Rethink Ed in Prince George’s County Public School District.
“It is our hope that as we continue to use Rethink Ed with all of our students, our communication of progress will further support our parents as partners.” She has been successful so far at working with parents and making them partners. Ms. Pearce is excited to continue to use Rethink Ed and jump into the new school year!